A Country House That’s Just Big Enough


When Daniel Heighes Wismer and Travis Wismer started searching for a weekend home in Sharon, Conn., as an escape from their weekday lives in Manhattan, they dominated out many houses just because Daniel barely match inside.

“A lot of houses just didn’t have the ceiling height for Daniel, who’s 6-foot-3,” mentioned Travis, 38, an property supervisor.

“So many of the houses were built in the 1780s, and they were all conserving the heat with those ceilings,” famous Daniel, a accomplice within the structure and design agency Dufner Heighes. “They had 6-foot-6 ceiling heights. They’re adorable, cute little houses, but I just couldn’t do it.”

So the couple was skeptical when, in 2016, after months of looking out, a dealer proposed they contemplate a compact, 1940s Cape Cod-style home on the prime of their value vary. “We almost didn’t go look at it,” Daniel mentioned, “but the broker talked us into seeing it.”

Within minutes of strolling into the two-bedroom, cedar-shingle home — and lingering on the outsized image window in the lounge — their reservations evaporated.

“We just stood and looked out that window, down the Oblong Valley,” Travis mentioned. “We fell in love with it right away.”

And with a ground-floor ceiling peak of about eight ft, he added, “Daniel could fit.”

There had been different positives, too. The nearest Metro-North practice station was about 10 minutes away by automotive, and the earlier proprietor had saved the home in good situation with out doing elaborate kitchen and toilet renovations they didn’t need.

“He replaced the windows, insulated the walls, put in a new furnace and did all the infrastructure stuff that we didn’t want to do,” mentioned Daniel, who needed to personalize no matter home the couple purchased. “But he didn’t do all that stuff where you’re paying for someone else’s renovation and then redoing it anyway.”

They closed on the home for about $350,000 that August and set to work. The greatest downside was the second-floor attic, a completed, one-room area with ceilings that sloped so steeply that Daniel as soon as once more had bother standing up straight. “I could only walk in the center three feet, along the ridge,” he mentioned.

To remodel the room right into a master bedroom with extra head area, they raised the ceiling with a shed dormer on one facet. It expanded the house’s usable space from 1,000 to 1,600 sq. ft.

“Of course, there were lots of unexpected things along the way,” Daniel mentioned. “It’s never as easy as you think it’s going to be.”

The greatest complication: They found that the joists weren’t sturdy sufficient to help a liveable room upstairs, in order that they needed to take away the ground-floor ceilings to bolster them from under.

On the bottom ground, they transformed one of many bedrooms right into a TV room with a bar and opened it as much as the lounge. Where there have been side-by-side exterior doorways opening into the kitchen and eating room, they changed the dining-room door with a window to create extra uninterrupted dwelling area inside, and re-shingled the wall outdoors.

Then they refinished the wooden floors and broke out the paint. In the kitchen, they painted the cupboards grey, eliminated superfluous crown molding and put in new . They saved the farmhouse sink and soapstone counters, including a brand new subway-tile backsplash and Miele home equipment.

For the eating room, Daniel designed a nook banquette that wraps round a eating desk by the Danish designer Hans Wegner.

In the lounge, he took inspiration from the home of one other Danish designer, Finn Juhl. “It’s a tricky room because there’s the fireplace on one side and the big floor-to-ceiling window on the other,” he mentioned. “It reminded me of a room in Finn Juhl’s house outside Copenhagen, where he has a little fireplace on one side and doors out to a patio on the other.”

Following Juhl’s instance, he positioned a sculptural sofa, small espresso desk and armchair in entrance of the fireside. Then, the place Juhl had put in a low espresso desk close to his window, Daniel opted for a low-slung daybed as an alternative.

In the TV lounge, they added Zoffany wallpaper with a daring sample of geometric stripes. “We wanted it to be more contemporary, to contrast with the very traditional fireplace surround and trim” in the lounge, Daniel mentioned.

The complete value was $225,000, and their contractors accomplished the work on July 1, 2017 — someday earlier than the couple had their wedding on the two-acre property.

“It was a good deadline,” Daniel said. “The electrician wanted to come back on the second, and we were like, ‘Do you see that tent in the yard?’”

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